Mind the Gaps Diet
Yes, incrdible though it seems, we have completed two years of the GAPS diet, so I thought I would give you an update on how we are doing.
Son 2 is very strong, fit, active and healthy. He has no sign of winter congestion despite the bitter cold winter spells we have had in the UK this year and has no signs of asthma. He eats like a horse and is always starving as all good teenagers are. He eats a wide range of foods, but 80% is meat, veg and fat. He does enjoy fruit too and I have to watch he doesn't overeat it though. He has just introduced cheddar cheese into his diet, with a view to widening his choice of foods and hopefully gradually moving him back onto a traditional diet and away from solely GAPS foods.
He initially got quite thin, but has now filled out into a stocky, but not fat figure. This son did weigh 12 pounds 2oz at birth!
Son 1 has made good progress. He stopped growing very much when we started the diet - he was already 6 ft. but at that point was still going up quickly. Therefore he plateaued for a long time, but a recent measure shows he has grown 1 cm in 6 months, the most in ages. In the meantime it seems that his muscles have been healing. At birth he was diagnosed as being on the lower end of the normal hypermobility scale. He was definitely more flexible than most, with elbows clearly bending in the wrong way. At a recent visit to a physiotherpist, I asked if you can grow out of hypermobilism, as I could see his joints wouldn't move backwards as they used to. She answered, she didn't think so. I told her that Son1 was born rather more hypermobile than most, so she tested him, and all that remains is a little hypermobility in his knees, With a little more research I found that hypermobility can be caused by an ability of nutrients reaching the muscles. I only asked as when he (again) dislocated a knee cap, the consultant seemed to imply that being hypermobile had nothing to do with it. So when I discovered he still has some hypermobility in his knee joints, it would seem reasonable to think that it might not be helping his problems, which every one we see gives another reason from, ranging from his height, to funny shaped/positioned knee caps! Say no more - thank you GAPS diet!
His stutter is still noticeable but only if he gets tired or stressed. His eczma still exists in a few small patches but it does not bother him and he only knows it's there because I looked and saw it! Before GAPs, he was plagued every summer with a horrible rash, either on his back and chest, or between his thighs. We would invest in every potion possible in an attempt to find something to ease the itching and soreness. We have discovered that he has a very sensitive stomach: sensitive to stress, which in most forms for him comes in the form of excess excitement, causing loose stools; and there are more foods that he has difficulty re-introducing than the rest of us.
I have had an interesting ride. Initially, I lost weight and gained heaps of energy. My cycles were fairly regular and light. Then I started to miss - first two months, followed by a 3 week very light bleed, then back to normal for two months. I didn't worry and just presumed I was getting old! Then I mised three months and then bled for nine days, a week later again for twelve days and two weeks after that for nearly four weeks at which point I went to the doctors, The doctor ruled out other possible causes and the gyneacologist said it was 'just hormones'. Well that was a relief, but my doctor had put me on a two month does of a progestin, but the gyneacologist said I must take it for 6 months as my periods were likely to be very heavy. Boy - they were! I have never had heavy periods of any form so this was a complete shock to me. Flooding and losing up 230mls in 2 days (I use a moon cup). Thankfully, the bleeding would quickly subside after 2 days. I was so grateful to a friend for introducing me to Wellsprings Natural Progesterone Cream (the only one available easily from the UK, other countries may have more choice) and with my docotor's permission, started to use it. Following their very helpful advice, I reduced the bleeding after one month, and further reduced it after two of continual double dosage. This has gradually elimated all symptoms. However I was perplexed as GAPS says the diet regulates hormones so I asked Dr Mc. Bride and she said all bodies are different in how they heal and some may need natural progesterone to ease the transition, Well as I am now 50, I will continue with it to smooothe my passage through menopause.
Around this time I also started to gain weight. I thought at first it was the synthetic progesterone that had caused it (listed as one of the side effects) but now several months after stopping, the weight still stubbornly persists. The natural progesterone says it helps with weight loss as putting on weight is a sign of estrogen dominance. That hasn't worked either. Since my waist has not increased greatly, I can only presume that I must have very solid bones!
I have started seed cyling to help balance the hormones. Agnus Castus ( I have used this one in the past to good effect) is another good alternative to gently help the body regulate progesterone levels.
I am currently having days when I am extremely tired after lunch, but flying before and flying again the next day (i.e. doing too much!). I am investigating the cause! Husband thinks my thyroid is now working more efficiently, which blood tests have shown it is, having a reduced TSH from a steady 1.4 for several years, to a 'optimum' 1.1. The natural progesterone cream can help to improve thyroid function as the thyoid hormone is closely linked to the sex hormones - one reason why many ladies aged 50 + develop thyroid problems as progesterone levels get lower. If so, I must monitor it closely and learn to regulate my new found energy!
Onto Husband. Apart from his weight, husband very rarely has other symptoms to gauge his thyroid function by. Therefore he monitors his weight every week and has blood tests every 6 weeks. Consistently his labs showed that he needed to reduce his medication (cheese seems still to have been the biggest culprit in his case). The consultant however, would reduce him in big doses which just seemed to kick him back more hyper again. So in the end, after seeing the FAQ on the GAPS diet webpage, where Dr. Mc.Bride explains that thyroid medication must be reduced very slowy as drugs become part of our physiology, he took his medication into his own hands and has slowly reduced 5mg every 6 weeks or so, using blood tests as a guide and his weight in between, sometimes increasing a dose if he feels he went too fast and he lost weight, all under the supervision of his doctor. This is a slow but effective process. We have learnt that by and large, endocrinologists know little about the thyroid, preferring to simply take it out, make you underactive and put you on Levythyroxine for life, as soon as possible.
We have found these websites to be most helpful: